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What actually is IWMS?


I came across this conversation string on my LinkedIn account yesterday. It is primarily about Archibus. There was a comment by an Archibus reseller in Raleigh who claims that Archibus dominates the IWMS market throughout the world. As a past user of Archibus, I have no doubts as to its Space capabilities but, in my experience in integrated solutions, I would tend to shy away from actually calling Archibus an IWMS solution as it falls short in a number of important FM operational areas. Which brings us to today’s questions.

1. What actually is an IWMS solution – is it WORKPLACE or WORK MANAGEMENT? What’s your definition?

2. What are the fundamental modules which make up an IWMS system and how do these differ from a CMMS, RPM, AM or CAFM system?

3. If an IWMS solution is “integrated”, should not all of the above components be integrated within ONE system, on ONE database and developed from ONE code stream?

4. If a company promotes its solution as IWMS (ie Integrated) and does not meet the above criteria (3), can it claim to actually have an IWMS solution?

This blog conversation has not been started to promote any turf wars between vendors and resellers, so don’t start. It has merely been designed to provoke discussion and hopefully provide some definitional clarity behind a loosely used term.

Thanks for your input!



  1. Bill Jordon says:

    I believe the acronym was originally coined by the Gartner Group, who used to produce a Magic Quadrant for “IWMS(Integrated Workplace Management Systems).” They discontinued producing the report last year. Below is their definition of IWMS from the 2006 IWMS Magic Quadrant:

    Market Definition/Description
    The IWMS market began to emerge in the late 1990s, with rapid evolution in the past four years.
    The market is characterized by enterprise-level software solutions that integrate four key
    components of functionality: project management, real estate portfolio and lease management, space management (moves, adds and changes), and maintenance management. The software operates from a single database and offers workflow tools, executive dashboards, and predefined and customized reporting capabilities.

    As I see it, this only answers the first question by providing what the acronym stands for, and is broad enough that it is pretty easy for companies to promote their solutions as IWMS. The only requirements are that they have the 4 “modules” and they operate from a single database.

    I’m not a lover of the acronym because it is so loosely defined.

    • icams says:

      Your right about how the acronym came into being and it very loose interpretation, which is one of the reasons why I have posted my comments. I think the industry needs to tighten up the definition, so that a true “apples to apples” comparison can be made by potential users

  2. Joe Valeri says:

    You are right that Gartner started the acronym. When Michael Bell of Gartner coined it some vendors were pleased thinking it would create more visibility and some of us were peeved as it lumped us all together. There are groups of like vendors and we get closer as time goes on and we add more competitive features, but I think you will see vendors start to move away from the term now that Garnter stopped producing the magic quadrant on IWMS. My guess is the heavily facility management /CAFM based solutions will retain it and others, who focus more on other parts of the lifecycle or on a broader view of Location Performance, will move to one or more new terms.

  3. Steven Hanks says:


    thank you very much for your great posts. I have written a post about aspects of IWMS that might be of interest to your readers.


    Yours Sincerely,

    Steven Hanks

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